Hutchison Likely to Remain in the Senate
by Jonathan Singer, Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 05:20:55 PM EDT
Via Arjun Jaikumar comes the news that Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison will not likely give up her seat in the United States Senate as a part of her challenge to incumbent Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Republican sources in Washington, D.C., on Monday predicted that the Texas Republican will continue to serve in the Senate, resigning only if she wins the Lone Star State governor's mansion in November 2010. Hutchison had been expected to resign her Senate seat in the coming months to focus on her campaign full time.
Should Hutchison still decide to step down, she would likely do so at the end of this calendar year, setting up a May 2010 special election to fill out the remainder of her current term, which expires in 2012. Gov. Rick Perry (R) would presumably appoint someone to replace Hutchison in the interim, as state law empowers him to do.
Arjun writes that this news is "obviously disappointing," but I'm not certain I would go that far.
Little doubt the Democrats would rather have a crack at the seat with Hutchison not running than with her in the race, because open seat elections are almost always easier than ones featuring incumbents and because Hutchison is by almost all accounts popular in the state.
Yet it is arguable whether 2010 would necessarily be a better cycle to make a run at the seat than 2012, as midterms tend to be more difficult for the party in power than Presidential election years. What's more, two more years of demographic changes in Texas, during which time the Democratic-leaning Hispanic population gains an increasing amount of electoral power, isn't likely to lessen Democrats' chances in the state.
So, yes, this news -- if it pans out -- would mean that the Democrats wouldn't have a shot at Hutchison's Texas Senate seat just yet. But I'm not entirely convinced that that would be a bad thing...